Through Cat's Eyes - An Excerpt

KitaSaturnyneKitaSaturnyne wrote on 01 Nov 2012 06:08

So, the "super villain wins" story idea grew to immense proportions. I expected it to be just a little short story where I'd present this encapsulated little narrative and hope people like it. But, no. The thing freaking EXPLODED and looks like it's going to be at least the length of a short novel.

Anyway, I thought I'd share a first draft of an excerpt of the story I've got so far1 with you guys so I could see what you think. It's lacking a lot of context, so I'll just summarize a couple of things you should know before going into the scene. Just skip to the bottom if you want to get right to the excerpt. It's in .pdf format for compatibility purposes.

Alexandra2: The protagonist of this part of the story. At this point, she's 15 years old.
Professor Stephen Linley: Alexandra's academic teacher, an employee of the Charles Lensherr3 Academy for Children with Extra-Biological Abilities. Born with enhanced strength and durability, as well as the capacity to fly.
Dr. Claire Mason: Alexandra's personal counsellor and one of Linley's best friends. Born with powerful psychic abilities.

A world not far removed from ours, in the 2010's, just with a few technological and societal differences. People are often born with abilities that are not considered part of standard human biology. Some are born with increased strength. Others are born with accelerated healing, pyrokinesis, or the ability to fly. For people with these abilities, institutions called academies have been established around the world. Their goal is to provide both academic education as well as training so that students can properly control their special abilities ("super powers") and harness them for the good of mankind.

Quick Summary
Exceprt from Part 1: Defender of Men4
A large black energy cloud referred to by the people of the world as "The Profound Darkness"5 is approaching Earth, intending to consume the planet. Humanity's hope to survive rests in Alexandra, a young girl who was found as a baby, unharmed in the center of a blast crater. It is estimated that the potential of Alexandra's extra-biological abilities vastly overshadows those of any human in known history. Therefore, the Charles Lensherr Academy has been grooming her to become powerful enough to counter the Profound Darkness and prevent it from consuming Earth.

However, the academy had made a terrible mistake. They had kept Alexandra focused on her studies and training all her life, which has resulted in a girl who cannot handle emotional turmoil. Furthermore, she has very little sense of altruism, and while she understands what her duty is, she knows nothing of its importance, nor does she know anything about the world she's been tasked to protect. She acts out by constantly running away to a nearby forest where she can be herself and be away from the monumental task of preserving all life on the planet.

At this point in the story, it's been estimated that only a number of months remain until the arrival of the Profound Darkness. Professor Stephen Linley, Dr. Claire Mason and Reginald Grimes have finally managed to convince the alarmist reactionaries that make up the academy's Board of Administrators that Alexandra needs to see the world in order to truly understand why life is important, why it's precious and why she's the one who's been given the burden of protecting it.

The solution is to send Alexandra on a worldwide tour with Dr. Mason and Professor Linley so she can witness different cultures, their customs and the different ways they preserve and treasure life. They visit exotic locales throughout Europe and Asia. The next stop on their tour is Rome, Italy.

While seeing the sights, an unknown man dressed in black attacks the city. Mason and Linley both tell Alexandra to take up arms against the assailant, but much to their frustration, she refuses.

About the term "Extra-Biological Abilities"
"Extra-biological abilities" is supposed to be a ridiculously politically correct term for what we would otherwise call 'super powers'. Each of the X-Men has a unique 'super power' such as telekinesis, enhanced strength or durability and so forth. The idea is that the people of my world find the term 'super power' to be limiting and maybe even a little devaluing of someone as a person - they are not characters from a comic book, they are simply human beings who were born with abilities or characteristics that are not found in standard human biology.

As far as this idea goes, I've not been able to think of suitable colloquial or more moderate terms for the idea. For example, if the offensive term is "super powers" and the other end of the spectrum is "extra-biological abilities", what about in between? Special abilities?6 Special powers7? I'm open to any suggestions. I just need a few terms that characters can use as shorthand when it comes to referring to people with these abilities, and not having to say "extra-biological abilities" every time.

Final Notes
I haven't mentioned Alexandra's special powers because they're not presented in the scene, except for a brief mention towards the end. Sufficed to say, they will be explored a lot more in the story itself.

Also, I realize that I could be referring to Alexandra as 'Alex' a lot more during this scene. It will probably be the subject of a future edit, once everything has completely solidified, but for now, I just really like calling her Alexandra.

Did I mention this is a first draft? Okay, good. Expect to find lots of grammatical errors, formatting problems, missplaced punctuation, repetitiveness and general messiness. The final version will be much more clean in the future. I promise. First draft!

Finally, after a million words, here's the link.

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